There are certain adjectives that seem to take on a life of their own, suffering from buzz-friendly, pseudo-intellectual overuse to the point of becoming meaningless placeholders for a proper descriptor, and I daresay "organic" is one of them. I'll admit that I too am responsible from wringing the term of its meaning as a shorthand antonym for synthetic, contrived or otherwise formalist aesthetics of high modernism.
Where Tomas Ekström's "Dolly" might be an example of the latter, Maarten de Ceulaer begins with a similar cellular concept to arrive at the opposite result. The "Mutation" series, created on the occasion of the Salone, might well be described with the dreaded o-word. Indeed, the designer himself characterizes it as such, with a rather darker subtext than the bulbous, inviting forms initially suggest:The pieces in this series look like they weren't made by hands, but have grown to their present form organically. They might be the result of a mutation in cells, or the result of a chemical or nuclear reaction. Perhaps it's a virus or bacteria that has grown dramatically out of scale. The Mutation pieces make you look at furniture in a different way. Maybe one day we would be able to grow a piece of furniture like we breed or clone an animal, and manipulate it's shape like a bonsai tree.
We've seen at least a couple designers tackle the higher-order o______ forms, such as arteries and veins or leaves, de Ceulaer's work also alludes to a taxonomical approach, subverting tufted cushioning:The project can be seen as an experimental review of classic furniture upholstery. It reminds us of the famous and iconic deep buttoned (Chesterfield) sofa's, interpreted in a highly contemporary and sculptural way. Instead of upholstering springs and foam with leather or textile, these pieces are created by carefully composing patterns with cut-offs of foam spheres of various sizes, and applying them onto a structure. In the end the entire piece gets coated, with a durable rubber or tactile velvet-like finish. It is hardly impossible to ever recreate such a specific pattern, so every piece is completely unique.